Sherbrooke Quebec resident Denis Petitclerc believes that without medical research he would not be here today to share his story. Currently being treated for Stage II prostate cancer by TFRI investigator and clinician Dr. Fred Saad (CRCHUM, Montreal), Petitclerc is receiving treatment for his third cancer diagnosis.
Following a regular check up, he was diagnosed with colon cancer at age 59 and a portion of his intestine was removed. Within months, he underwent surgery on his leg to remove skin cancer. Then, in 2013, came the prostate cancer diagnosis and, in February 2014, a radical prostatectomy.
His experiences have made him an even stronger believer in medical research and the need for good information to make informed decisions about one’s health. In the case of prostate cancer, he thinks more information in addition to a PSA test and a Gleason Score is needed. “Doctors need to have available panels of biomarkers — PSA is just one biomarker — but they need more of those markers to answer different questions: ‘What kind of tumour do you have? How aggressive is it? How will it respond to treatment?’”
Petitclerc is grateful to be a patient of Dr. Saad’s as well as a participant in the Canadian Prostate Cancer Biomarker Network study funded by the Terry Fox Research Institute. He’s providing tissue samples to study investigators to help them develop biomarkers to earlier detect the disease and enable more options for managing it. “I feel that if it had not been for research and all the progress made by research over the past 35 years, I’d probably be dead today. There would be no hope, no future, no Marathon to continue.”